By Not Known

Christian heroism comes in many forms. Some are heroes in missions, evangelism or care of the needy. Others are heroes of the Christian mind.

Justin (~ AD100-165) was born in Palestine of pagan parents. He pursued truth and meaning through Greek philosophy until his conversion to Christianity aged about 30. He writes: … I was delighted with the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, but at the same time saw them intrepid at the prospect of death … . These believers may not have matched the unconverted Justin in debate, but they clinched the argument with their deeds.

Do our lives commend Christ to his cultured critics?

Justin became a leading Christian scholar. He first taught in Ephesus where he argued against Jewish critics. Next stop was Rome. He spoke for Christ to the pagan philosophers and even the Roman Senate.

Do we use our pre-Christian strengths and contacts in the service of Christ?

Christianity sometimes has an uneasy relationship with philosophy. In part this is based on a misreading of the text: See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy (Col 2:8). Justin was one of the first to see that the problem is not with philosophy itself but with philosophy that denied Christ. He tried to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5) as he thought, spoke and wrote with a Christian intellect. Some of his views seem problematic today, but we should not miss the challenge to develop and express a world-engaging Christian mind.
Here is a sample of his robust writing: Hence we are called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as the gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God ….

Do we think as Christians on the issues of our day?
Do we speak as Christians in our public square?

Justin was not just words. His public arguments for Christianity brought him under surveillance. He was denounced for refusing to sacrifice to the local gods, scourged and beheaded. And that is why he is more commonly known as Justin Martyr.

Are we ready to confess Christ as Lord, whatever the consequences?

David Burke